The 34th match day of the season is upon us and the general consensus is that the title will be won by Chelsea (surprise, surprise), while the battle for spots 2, 3, and 4 look nearly settled other than which particular order those teams will finish in. Meanwhile, the battle between Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham for a likely 5th place finish continues to rage, as does the relegation scrap. Will there be much movement in the standings from here until the final week?
Recap from previous results:
Everton vs Burnley: Everton continue their good form of late.
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Chelsea withstand the onslaught of pressure from the Red Devils to secure the points.
Manchester City v West Ham: A regulation win for City that keeps them within a point of third place.
Newcastle v Tottenham: Another dire performance from the Magpies and a good road win for Spurs.
Barcelona v Valencia: Excellent win for Barcelona, surviving a glut of chances from an impressive Valencia team.
Juventus v Lazio: Typical Juventus performance, astute, rigid, and efficient, 2-0 for the holders.
Inter Milan v AC Milan: A dross 0-0 affair between two clubs who are a shadow of their former selves.
FC Dallas v Toronto FC: Late comeback from TFC (Giovinco) not enough as Dallas take the spoils 3-2.
Southampton host Tottenham in what will be a particularly good fixture for the neutrals. Both teams have something to play for, or not play for as far as getting into the Europa League is concerned. West Brom will be tough hosts for a Liverpool side low on confidence after their FA Cup exit, while the team that beat them, Aston Villa, must travel to the Etihad to face a Manchester City team hoping to restore some pride in their season. Everton against Manchester United should be a corker. Both of these teams have been in good form of late, and this match always provides a spectacle. The biggest match of the weekend once again involves Chelsea, who will be attempting to catenaccio the hell out of Arsenal at the Emirates. Big tingz.
In Italy, the team that was great a few years ago – Inter Milan – host the team that was great a few months ago – Roma. Rudi Garcia’s maroon army have indeed marooned any hope they had of a title, and are now fighting to regain second place, which was recently nicked by their rivals, Lazio. Meanwhile, in North America, the New York Red Bulls face their old adversaries, LA Galaxy, in perhaps the biggest east-west rivalry since Bad Boy vs. Death Row, while in the Sunshine State, Orlando
Magic City S.C will look to take advantage of Toronto FC‘s disastrous defense.
Summary of Matchday 33:
Predictions tally for our Pundits:
Matchday 34: Predictions:
Mohaned: Arsenal vs Chelsea: It is still mathematically possible for Arsenal to catch up with Chelsea for the league title, but that’s improbable. An Arsenal win, though, would at least make it exciting and cement their top-two finish. Coming off an FA Cup semi-final win, the Gunners should be in high spirits. Chelsea on the other hand, have been struggling for a good performance in the last month. The results have come, but the style has been absent. This can largely be attributed to the missing of Diego Costa. Mourinho, as we saw against United, will probably set up his team to play on the counter again and go for a 1-0 win. The same way he beats Arsenal all the time. Ivanovic is in for another night of hard work as he comes up against Sanchez, after having to deal with Luke Shaw in the previous fixture. This will be a tight game where Chelsea will look to frustrate Arsenal, but I can see Arsenal nicking this 1-0.
Alexander: Southampton v Tottenham: If both teams had achieved what they wanted this season, this game might be the decider in the race for fourth place. As it is, the winner will have a slightly better chance of finishing fifth than the loser. Not all too inspiring. Still, the fact that they are only a point apart will hopefully add some spice to a game between two teams who seem to have eased up a little in their efforts. Southampton lost to Stoke last weekend, while Spurs beat Newcastle. But let’s be honest, a shepherd and his flock would have a 50/50 chance of beating the Toon at the moment, and other than that win, Tottenham have been pretty hopeless in recent weeks. Perhaps the biggest winner of this game will be whoever loses, as it may help them avoid next season’s Europa League. I’m hoping for fireworks here, but expecting a damp towel. 1-1 draw.
Bernie: Orlando SC vs Toronto FC: I thought this season would go better than it currently has for TFC. They’ve put together what looks like a stellar attack, although Jozy Altidore is looking like the Sunderland version as opposed to the AZ Alkmaar or USMNT version. The defense is the main concern for Toronto FC. Granted Caldwell and new signing Perquis haven’t been fit and they’ve had to patch things up but one win and four losses is not good enough. They come up against a passionate and motivated Orlando side who have former Ballon D’or winner Kaka in their side. Can we expect this fragile defense to keep him at bay? Not a chance. 2-0 Orlando.
Rishay: Everton v Manchester United: Both teams have some good form going into this one. Everton have been decent with four wins and a draw in their last five, while United have six wins and a loss in their last seven. Everton have been “getting the job done” rather than playing their opponents off the pitch, while United have been playing their opponents off the pitch, and will also count themselves rather unlucky after losing to Chelsea despite putting in a great performance away from home. It is unlikely that Everton will be able to withstand such pressure should United apply it, but it depends on whether United will be hungry enough for this game after their morale-denting defeat last weekend. I see United taking the spoils in this game as they have more to play for than an Everton team destined for a mid-table finish. 2-1 Manchester United.
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